Union Station Holiday Extravaganza and 22nd Annual Norwegian Tree Lighting Ceremony – A Huge Success!

The Union Station holiday extravaganza and annual Norwegian tree lighting ceremony, which took place on Thursday, November 29th, was a smashing success.

In continuation of a 22-year tradition, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, on behalf of the citizens of Norway, presented a holiday tree to the people of Washington, DC. This generous gift symbolizes gratitude for the assistance Norway received during WWII and appreciation for the strong friendship between the two countries.

The 32-foot tree was decorated with American and Norwegian flags, as well as ocean-themed ornaments made of all recycled materials, symbolizing the importance of sustainable management of the sea. The CD-fish, necktie-shrimp, and plastic bottle-jellyfish were created by Norwegian artist Liliane Blom, in collaboration with children from Gaithersburg and Savoy elementary schools and College Park Nursery School.

The emcee for the evening was Murray Horwitz, host of WAMU’s The Big Broadcast old-time radio show. Remarks were given by His Excellency Kåre R. Aas, Norway’s Ambassador to the United States, Lauren Vaughan, Secretary of the District of Columbia, Radha Muthiah, President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank, and Tom Gallagher, Chair of the Washington Performing Arts Board of Directors.

Sissel Bakken sang the Norwegian and American national anthems and there were wonderful performances by the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir, the Howard University Gospel Choir, and the Czarkowski String Quartet. Also, Santa and Mrs. Claus came to meet, give gifts to, and have photos taken with all the children. In addition, Philip Espe, a representative of the DC Public Library, read holiday stories to the audience. The evening culminated in a simulcast of the amazing Yo-Yo Ma Bach Project concert from the National Cathedral.

USRC hopes that everyone had a wonderful time at the holiday event. Many thanks to all the performers, speakers, interpreters, attendees, and sponsors who made it possible.

Click here to see additional photos.

This event was co-presented by Washington Performing Arts, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce – Mid-Atlantic Chapter, the Bach Project, and Union Station and is presented in association with Brightest Young Things, the Library of Congress, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and DC Public Library.

(Photo Credit: Jillian Hess, USRC Public Relations and Outreach Manager)